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The Trek Nation - Mind Boggling Rumors

Mind Boggling Rumors

By Fred Shedian
Posted at June 29, 2001 - 7:25 PM GMT

Recent news items have once again brought into question the reliability of "rumors" and put a spot light on how graphic editing programs can often cause so much confusion. Perhaps even more of an issue is the desire many news sites, such as TrekWeb and TrekToday, have to find the "big story" about Enterprise. I am beginning to think that filtering processes normally in place to keep "junk" from being announced as a rumor have been tossed out the window in an attempt to be the first to provide a picture of the S.S. Enterprise, Captain Archer or some other image. Today, I wish to take some time to review recent items and comment on the damage their reporting is causing to many news site's credibility.

First, I look at a news item posted by TrekToday on June 25th. (click here to visit) It featured analysis of a review posted at Dark Horizons, apparently reviewing a November 2000 edition of "Broken Bow." What I find interesting about this review is the almost complete lack of new information. Was I the only one who noticed this?

The basic plot information provided goes with the rumors many have been hearing for months, with the pilot dealing with the Enterprise traveling to the Klingon Homeworld. Beyond a question about whether or not it's called Kling or Qo'nos in this time, the entire "review" really does nothing but compile months worth of rumors. The idea there is a time travel aspect to this show has been mentioned about as long the idea of a "Birth of the Federation" style series came into existence on the web. So I ask, is this review dealing with a November 2000 edition of the script or just a new site's attempt to "get the big story" via the compilation of months of reporting?

One would assume that in this script, some more "details" would become known. However, I simply don't see it. Stating that "Archer and T'Pol will have a Mulder/Scully relationship" is something most people could have surmised after seeing the casting sheet reports. Now mind you, I am not attempting to downplay Dark Horizon's or any other news source. However, I have to put into question the reliability of all these reports. Let us not forget that only eight months ago, rumors were almost certain that we would be seeing a Starfleet Academy: 90210 series. I simply find it odd that a news site would gain access a copy of a script supposedly only about ten people at Paramount had ever seen, two of which were Berman and Braga.

This news item carries enough data that most sites would report it. However, I call into question recent actions by another news site, TrekWeb. In the last several weeks, this website has put online several different images they claim "sources verify as being legitimate." One recent event has dealt with the presence of an image supposedly featuring the logo for Enterprise. For those that have not seen the story or image, please feel free to visit the TrekToday article on the subject by clicking here..

The fact TrekWeb and other news sources have reported this to even be a *plausible* rumor is mind boggling to me. Does anyone else honestly believe that a tourist from England would be allowed to freely roam the Paramount lot to take pictures? No one else questions why standard paper sheets are used in this graphic, or the apparent mis-title of the show? In addition, has anyone else noticed the fact that this "paper sign" also has a second page to it...featuring the words "Star Trek Voyager: Special Effects?" I still cannot get over the fact so many people are giving this item consideration as being real. I question whether or not this image was even made for this purpose. For all we know, someone took this image off of someone's online photo gallery and e-mailed it.

This, mixed with the ten reported images from the show's special effect departments in the last two weeks really have me bothered. With over half apparently originating from reports on TrekWeb, why do the webmasters appear to be ignoring the fact not every image sent to them will be the real thing? Have they even contemplated some kid taking an image they found online and submitting it, just to get their two minutes of fame? Does anyone else honestly believe Paramount would be leaking images, especially when Foundation Imaging has such a long standing reputation with the show? Would this company want to even contemplate leaking something, only to have their contract canceled or someone get fired?

Some Internet news site's lack of concern for the validity of what they are reporting is increasing so fast it's hard to believe half of what is said anymore. The desire to find "the big story" is indeed an appealing one, but for a site to put this above providing quality journalism is simply unacceptable. Months ago I stated I knew rumors would become more and more prevalent, as Star Trek has yet to have a new show launch in the midst of the "Internet revolution." However, I never imaged some of the garbage we've seen in the last month would be taken for real images smuggled out of Paramount.

I sincerely hope sites, such as TrekWeb and TrekToday, will attempt to investigate what they are told is a rumor before publishing it. Given the way things are going, I'm just waiting for the "Real Image Of The S.S. Enterprise" to appear online...only to have it be a copy of an Akira Class ship. As I stated earlier, my purpose is not to demean any website, rather point out a critical problem I see developing.

As always, comments are welcome. I do apologize to anyone who wrote to me regarding my last edition. Due to some computer issues, the majority of my mail was deleted before I had the ability to reply to it. If you would like to comment on this edition of A Take On Trek or any previous one, feel free to write me at shedian@treknation.com. Please be sure to include your name and the title of the column you are discussing.

Due to the July 4th U.S. holiday and my attendance to a Star Trek convention in Baltimore, Maryland the weekend of July 13th, I will not be writing for several weeks. Though I doubt any news will come of it, should the Foundation Imaging representative (Mojo) say or produce anything interesting about the upcoming Star Trek: The Motion Picture - Director's Edition or Enterprise, I will be sure to pass it along. But due to Paramount's desires, I doubt this will happen. If there is a topic you would like to see me discuss, please feel free to submit an idea.

Until next time...

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Fred Shedian Produces the long running TrekNation column "A Take On Trek." For a complete catalog of Fred Shedian's columns, please click here to visit the Take On Trek website.